Australia’s research-intensive universities have backed in sweeping changes to the nation’s migration system noting that quality and integrity are at the heart of the reform package.
The Group of Eight (Go8), which educates 173,000 international students both on and offshore, and who are all ranked in top 100 universities in the world, supports measures to improve and streamline visa assessment processes to facilitate migration in areas of priority and strategic need.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said: “Australia needs high quality, high achieving graduates who will contribute to our economic and social prosperity. Streamlining applications for talented migrants, including global researchers is critical in delivering on this.
“This an important part of the government’s Migration Review. In a global economy where competition for talent is intense, particularly in areas such as cyber security and artificial intelligence, improving our migration planning process and fast-tracking application processes in areas of greatest need is key to Australia remaining attractive to prospective students.
“Our international education sector is not a one size fits all and we must have a system which recognises this and protects our quality offering. This package does this, while also acknowledging the benefits of the sector that go beyond just the economic.
“Go8 international enrolments have increased by nine percent since 2019. Our universities withstood the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic precisely because we have a laser focus on quality research and teaching and our students recognise this in choosing to study at one of our global top 100 universities.”
“The international education measures outlined in the Migration Review will largely impact vocational education and private providers, however there are measures to support the Go8’s goal to attract and retain high quality international students and researchers.
“The government’s plan to consider a new ‘talent and innovation’ visa to attract migrants who can make a valuable contribution to Australia, aligns with the Go8 recommendation to introduce a High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa.
“This would assist Australian universities and employers attract world leading academics and researchers and facilitate the retention of PhD students in areas of greatest need. High quality international talent also helps to keep Australia connected to global technological developments needed for emerging jobs and industries.
“The Go8 will work with the government on the development of the ‘talent and innovation’ visa. We are committed to educating the best and brightest, to attracting the high-quality talent and expertise Australia needs to remain internationally competitive.